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Questions tagged [safety]

Safety includes all aspects of protecting aircraft, passengers and crew from accidents, mistakes and other potentially dangerous situations.

19
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3answers
3k views

How are Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo's windows so large?

From Virgin Galactic on SpaceShipTwo: Windows in the passenger compartment will be 13 inches (33 centimeters) wide by 17 inches (43 centimeters) tall. IMO that's enormous for an airplane, ...
10
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2answers
2k views

Can you go around with LAHSO in effect?

Some larger airports in the US use land-and-hold-short (LAHSO) operations, meaning you're cleared to land, but only if you're able to do so without going beyond specific point (usually an intersecting ...
14
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2answers
2k views

Does the co-pilot still remain in control of the plane if an engine fails during takeoff?

If an engine fails after $V_1$, how long does the copilot remain in control if he was the pilot flying? What is prioritized before the captain taking control of the aircraft?
24
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4answers
8k views

Why is the seat belt mechanism on airplanes so different from the the one on cars?

You pull a flap on airplane seatbelts, you push a button on car seatbelts. Why?
20
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3answers
20k views

How does TCAS work?

TCAS is obviously a fantastic piece of kit, but I was wondering: exactly how does it work? What I mean is, how does it determine whether to tell a pilot to climb or descend when there's traffic? ...
13
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2answers
17k views

Can the cockpit windows on commercial airliners open during flight?

I observed that the cockpit windows on the commercial airliners actually open - good for a hot day while waiting on the airfield, I suppose. Is there a mechanism which prevents the window from being ...
14
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3answers
8k views

Are the window wipers on jet aircraft ever deployed in flight?

Many commercial airliners have car-like window-wipers. I would presume this is for taxiing only, as the wind would surely keep the windows free from water when airborne, or do they turn them on in ...
2
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2answers
2k views

Is it possible to prevent plane accidents due to fuel explosion?

We know that most of the plane accidents and deaths result from the explosion of fuel tanks in the planes, like when two planes collide, or when the plane falls on the ground. With the advent of ...
13
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2answers
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How do “fundamentally unstable” aircraft deal with the risk of computer failure?

As technology becomes more advance airplanes are becoming less and less stable. In flight school I learned that it's dangerous to load a Cessna out of it's CG range, and now in college (for aerospace ...
13
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3answers
2k views

Why aren't bird radars placed on the front of commercial aircraft?

Unfortunately, my skills and understanding of radar and the like are very limited, but if somebody could enlighten me why there is no such thing as a dual bird/weather radar to switch to? I've ...
23
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1answer
3k views

What are the accident rates for kit built aircraft vs. normal aircraft of the same model?

I know that some manufacturers both sell kit and finished version of their aircraft. For a fair comparison of accident rates, i was wondering: What are the accident rates for kit built aircraft vs. ...
31
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2answers
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How do pilots rest on long-haul flights?

When flying on a long-haul airliner flight in economy, often I find it very hard to fall asleep. However, when off cockpit duties, they still have to get rest so that they are able to control the ...
11
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3answers
804 views

How should the crew callout 1,000 ft. prior to assigned altitude?

When climbing or descending in a multi-crew cockpit, most SOP's require a verbal callout at 1,000 ft. prior to the assigned altitude. I typically hear different callouts by different people: "One ...
12
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3answers
2k views

What is Crew Resource management (CRM)?

I hear a lot about CRM these days (it seems to be a buzz word). It is related to safety, but what exactly is it? From what I know, it also applies to single pilot flights (even in a Cessna 150!), ...
16
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4answers
9k views

What's the point of intercepting an aircraft?

I know that it's possible for military aircraft to "intercept" a civilian or foreign aircraft (and I'm well aware of the US interception procedures), but why would they be doing it in the first place?...
16
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1answer
1k views

Is there any limit to how many times an aircraft evacuation slide may be deployed?

I've seen multiple videos online of evacuation slide tests and they all tend to be almost violent as they are very fast and loud, but I can't help thinking that it must put a lot of force on those ...
8
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1answer
1k views

How effective are modern aircraft at clearing smoke?

In reference to this incident by a certain (in)famous artist, i'm wondering how effective modern aircraft are at clearing smoke for single aisle commercial aircraft such as B737/A320 or a business jet ...
12
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1answer
613 views

Are there any studies on the safety of glass versus steam instruments?

Has anyone come across any academic study on the effects of information provided by "glass" instrumentation that affects, favorably or unfavorably, situational awareness, skill and performance, and ...
19
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2answers
7k views

How can pilots fly VFR over-the-top in overcast conditions?

It's apparently legal for pilots to fly over the top of clouds and fly VFR. However, I don't understand how it's possible to do so, especially since there is no visual reference to rely on to ensure ...
27
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3answers
12k views

How do Ram Air Turbines get deployed?

I understand that most larger jets have a Ram Air Turbine (RAT) in case of total electrical failure (for instance, when you run out of fuel) in order to at least have some hydraulics and a couple of ...
17
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4answers
7k views

Why can't aircraft be cleared to land before the preceding aircraft turns off the runway?

For example, let's say we have an Airbus A330 in front, which has just landed, well past the threshold and looks like it's going to be alright. Next in line to land is a small general aviation ...
21
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1answer
4k views

How does exceeding the critical Mach number of an aircraft affect its operation?

If an aircraft exceeds its critical Mach number, does it affect the way the aircraft is handled? Are there any significant changes to performance or the safety of the aircraft when above this speed? ...
15
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1answer
4k views

When should pilots observe a “Sterile Cockpit”?

A "Sterile Cockpit" means avoiding all conversations and actions not related to flight during important flight times. (eg. No extraneous conversations, no non-important electronics, no eating, etc) ...
11
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4answers
10k views

What medications may pilots take while flying?

We all get sick, suffer from allergies and sometimes chronic issues. It is not safe to fly while on some medicines or in some cases, for some time after taking the medicine. How do I know what I can ...
8
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4answers
2k views

During a takeoff emergency, is it safer to abort or continue the takeoff if either can be done within the available runway?

In a multi-engine airplane, if an engine failure occurs at the exact moment that a decision needs to be made to reject or continue the takeoff, and there is plenty of runway available to do either, ...
11
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2answers
6k views

What are the risks involved when doing a classic zero-g maneuver?

I suspect most pilots have done it at least once: briefly experience zero g when flying a parabolic path. It's quite an experience (if your stomach can handle it). Question is: are there any risks ...
18
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1answer
3k views

Is a light aircraft still usable after a successful airframe parachute deployment?

Some light aircraft now have airframe parachutes. If a pilot does have to pull the chute on a Cirrus (for example), is the aircraft flyable or at least repairable after landing or is it a write-off? ...
31
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2answers
4k views

Did the Space Shuttle really wait until 50 feet above the ground before they put the gear down?

I saw a sign at the Smithsonian about the Space Shuttle where it said that their gear was not extended until 50 feet above the ground. I've searched and searched for something definitive that had the ...
13
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1answer
1k views

Will occupants usually survive a decent autorotation?

When I learned to fly helicopters, I of course spent significant time learning about and practicing autorotations. The CFI at my school, who had around 15,000 hrs (that's right, fifteen thousand!) ...
23
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1answer
1k views

What is the most overlooked item during preflight inspection?

Have there been any studies that gathered statistics on overlooked items on preflight inspections, or even statistics on how many pilots actually perform a good preflight (following a checklist, etc.)?...
6
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2answers
1k views

CO-meter indicates 10ppm of Carbon Monoxide when I turn on Cabin heat - should I be concerned?

Our Cessna 172P is equipped with a digital CO-meter rather than the traditional Quantum eye carbon monoxide detector. Today I was flying along in winter conditions, and naturally used cabin heat. ...
21
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1answer
2k views

What must ATC do, following a reported laser sighting by a plane?

Supposing a pilot reports having a laser beam shone on them to ATC, what action should they take? Is the pilot allowed to take evasive action? Can other planes request clearance to avoid the area?
36
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10answers
5k views

Is it even remotely feasible to turnback a single engine aircraft with an engine failure?

Note before reading further that I'm asking this question purely on theoretical grounds, though you are more than welcome to talk about practical aspects as well. Now, my question. It's common ...
6
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3answers
4k views

Where does the Oxygen for the emergency gas masks come from?

Normal commercial jets drop gas masks when cabin pressure drops, and supply oxygen, but, where does that oxygen come from? Do commercial jets store oxygen? If they do, isn't pressurised oxygen very ...
30
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4answers
42k views

What materials are plane windows made of?

I've always wondered, what are those dual-layered (bonus: sometimes they have a little <2mm hole, why is it there?) windows commercial jets put next to their seats made of?
30
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2answers
17k views

I just saw a plane drop off online radar; should I do anything about it?

I was watching Flight Radar 24, positioned near my house, to see what planes I could spot, and noticed a Cessna 550's transponder just dropped off @ 5,325 ft in a high-speed descent! Is there ...
22
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1answer
19k views

Is it legal to smoke in your own plane?

I was just curious, in the past, smoking on planes was permitted. What is the law surrounding smoking in your own private plane?
17
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1answer
4k views

Why don't all new GA planes include a parachute system?

When the Cirrus was first introduced, it included a Ballistic Recovery System, which shoots a parachute out the rear of the plane that can save a plane and its occupants when something goes wrong. ...
17
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8answers
6k views

What items could you bring on-board to maximise your chance of survival in an emergency?

A question on Travel (Are parachutes allowed on airplanes as cabin baggage?) got me to wondering: hypothetically, what items could the "über-paranoid" passenger or pilot bring on-board to potentially ...
25
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2answers
15k views

Is it true that the pilot and co-pilot are required to eat different meals?

I was watching a documentary about a Lufthansa A380, and they said that the pilot and co-pilot are required to eat different meals; why is that? Is it a country-specific requirement, or airline-...
14
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3answers
3k views

Are fireworks a hazard to aircraft?

Tonight's fireworks got me wondering: With all of the firework displays happening at the same time, how do they keep aircraft away from them? Is there any risk of collision or blinding the pilots? ...
18
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4answers
5k views

How are aircraft separated in a non-radar environment?

In remote areas that have no radar (oceanic airspace, etc.) how is aircraft separation maintained so that airplanes don't get too close? What do areas that normally have radar do when there is a ...
26
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3answers
3k views

Is it safe to roll an airplane that isn't approved for it?

I have heard of pilots rolling airplanes that aren't approved for it (Cessna 172, Learjets, etc.), and other than the obvious legal issues, are there any mechanical or safety reasons to avoid it? ...
17
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2answers
2k views

What should a pilot do if they feel sleepy?

What should a pilot of any large commercial passenger airplane do if they feel sleepy? What is the maximum time per day during which the pilot may control the airplane ?
15
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2answers
3k views

Are you required to have constant view of the runway when circling?

When you're circling, it has been said that you are required to keep view of the runway at all times below the MDA. However, sometimes this can be impossible due to issues with visibility, such as ...
57
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4answers
91k views

How dangerous is flying in a single-engine plane?

Some people consider flying small planes very dangerous. Just how dangerous is it to fly in a light single-engine plane? For example, how does the fatality rate compare to driving a car, riding a ...
29
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9answers
5k views

What things can a passenger look out for, to indicate an emergency?

As a passenger with a keen interest in aviation, I'd like to think I'd be eagle-eyed enough to spot a problem that the pilots mightn't be able to see, from where they're sitting (for example, an ...
24
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2answers
4k views

What to do if the captain smells like alcohol?

Suppose you're the co-pilot on a flight and during pre-flight, talking to the captain, you smell alcohol. Although you didn't see him drinking and the smell isn't strong, what does regulation ...
9
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2answers
463 views

Are there benefits to opening a flight plan if I'm flying over populated areas?

Here in Idaho we have a lot of mountains and desert areas where if I had to make an emergency landing or crashed it may take a very long time to find me. In that case I can see the benefit to opening ...
74
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3answers
17k views

I just flew into class B airspace without a clearance, what should I do now?

Hypothetical: Let's say (for whatever reason) a pilot became distracted or disorientated, and found themselves in class B airspace. What steps should they take immediately and after landing to be ...